Best in the West!
“Judah will have one portion; it will border the territory of Reuben from east to west. Bordering the territory of Judah from east to west will be the portion you are to present as a special gift…the sanctuary will be in the center of it.”- Ezekiel 48:7-8
One of the many things I love about the Living Word of God, is when the Holy Spirit reveals BIG THINGS from it when you are least expecting it or looking for it. When we remain faithful in the discipline of reading the Word the Lord deposits something rich and timely for our lives: a revelation of truth, a promise that takes root in our heart, a comfort that soothes during a time of great pain. I liken such an eye-opening experience to those viral videos of someone fishing, only to be surprised by hooking a shark!
Last week, I caught something big while reading the last chapter in Ezekiel. In this account the twelve tribes of Israel are dividing the land, six are receiving portion in the northern territory, while the other half are allotted space in the southern portion. In the text we see that the tribe of Judah receives the most WESTWARD land. That may not seem super important but wait there’s more! Right next to Judah is a special allotment of land where the sanctuary will dwell. This tribe is placed by the Lord Himself NEAREST TO THE SANCTURY, the place where His presence and glory dwells! What’s more the name Judah means “Praise”. This people of praise are closest to the place God is! The word for us at a personal level is that even when things in life are hardest, we can still be near to God. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” But wait there’s more!
As I read this Scripture, I also felt it was a word for us who call California home. Our Golden State is not always met with the most glowing or glorious reviews. People find many things to complain about: the state being too liberal; the leaders elected to public office; the traffic; the cost of living; the lack of having four seasons. Even in the last few years we have seen several families move out of state, searching for greener pastures. However, this verse in Ezekiel gave me great hope and boldness to declare, “THE WEST IS BEST!” No, I am not saying California is better than places like Dallas, Chicago, New York, or Miami (Go Dolphins). But God is not done with our state yet either. I believe the Lord’s promise is to bring restoration and revival to our land. Let’s believe, let’s pray, let’s repent and receive mercy. There have been many amazing works started for God’s kingdom in our state over the last one hundred plus years (Google it sometime), and I want to see even greater works in the next hundred years. As the westward most state (on the mainland) we have been called to draw near to God, to worship, and to seek Him. Let’s by faith hear the words Jesus spoke in John 1:50 spoken over our home, “You will see greater things than that.”